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Ex-Angels staffer sentenced to 22 years in overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs

The judge said he added two years to a 20-year sentence after learning the defendant called the deceased pitcher a "piece of shit" and insulted jurors as "fat, sloppy, toothless and unemployed."

FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) — A Texas federal judge sentenced former Los Angeles Angels staffer Eric Kay to 22 years in federal prison Tuesday for dealing opioids that killed pitcher Tyler Skaggs during a road trip.

U.S. District Judge Terry Means said he added two years to a 20-year sentence due to insulting comments Kay, 47, made about Skaggs, Skaggs’ family and the jury that convicted him in February.

Prosecutors played into evidence Tuesday jailhouse recordings of Kay speaking with his mother.

“I hope people realize what a piece of shit he is,” Kay said. “Well, he’s dead. So fuck him.”

Kay is heard encouraging his mother to plant negative stories about Skaggs’ family in the media, calling them “dumb” and “white trash.”

“All they see are dollar signs,” he said. “They may get more money with him dead than he was playing because he sucked.”

Kay added that jurors who convicted him in his criminal trial were “fat, sloppy, toothless and unemployed.”

Former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay walks out of federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, during his trial for federal drug distribution and conspiracy charges. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Skaggs, 27, choked to death on his own vomit at a hotel in Southlake before a game with the Texas Rangers on July 1, 2019.

The Tarrant County medical examiner concluded Skaggs’ death was accidental and found a mixture of ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone in his body.

Police founds blue and pink pills in Skaggs’ room, as well as white residue that contained fentanyl. Prosecutors argued at trial that cellphone records indicate Skaggs texted Kay that afternoon asking for five pills. They said Kay was Skaggs’ sole drug dealer and that the two regularly talked despite not being friends away from baseball.

Kay’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued at trial that Skaggs died from drugs from other sources, claiming he was given pink Percocet pills by former teammate Matt Harvey. Kay claimed he saw Skaggs snort a pink powder of Percocet the night of his death.

Harvey testified as a prosecution witness, stating he bought pills from Kay and received them from an outside source in Rhode Island twice. He said one of those times from the outside source was in April 2019 when Skaggs requested the pills.

Kay’s former subordinate, current Angels communications director Adam Chodzko, testified that Kay originally told him a rumor Skaggs choked on gummy bears before later admitting he saw Skaggs snort three lines of drugs the night he died.

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